I own a 2006 Honda Accord. It is the manual EX model with a V6 engine (in case you want some specifics). I’ve been taking my car to the same shop since I bought it for oil changes. I am currently at 63,000 and I have had approximately 11 or 12 oil changes. I use synthetic oil, so I typically go somewhere between 6 and 7,500 miles between changes. I took my car in yesterday for its most recent oil change and was told that the oil pan is stripped. I was really taken back by this. Seems unusual, and my understanding was this mainly occurs when the plug is tightened excessively. I put this concern to the shop, and was told that today’s oil pans aren’t as strong as they once were, often made of aluminum. Maybe that’s true, but something just doesn’t seem right to me. I feel like maybe they aren’t taking responsibility or at least some of it. What do you think and is a new oil pan my only long-term solution? The estimate for the rapair is $146 for the labor, $120 for the Genuine Honda oil pan and $20 for the oil pan gasket. Seems quite expensive. Also seems like this is something that shouldn’t happen as early in the life of my vehicle as this.
First, if your oil pan bolt/threads are stripped and this is the only shop that has touched, then I would say it is pretty much all their responsibility. These things do not “wear out” aluminum or not. They are only improperly handled - like cross threaded and overtightened. You are not at all likely, however, to get the shop to take responsibility. If you look at it from their point of view, they have no way to say that no one else has ever touched the plug. In the end a fight with them is probably not worth your while.
Second, you DO NOT need to have the whole oil pan replaced. There are many many ways to repair this without pulling the pan. If this is the same shop then just get the heck away from there. (This isn’t a corporate chain-type shop is it?). Just get another mechanic who will retap the pan for an oversized plug or something like that. There are multiple ways to fix it.
If you can show that your last requisite oil change was done by another mechanic instead of you, then it may be sufficient to prove that these new guys are the proximate-cause of the problem regardless of their claims otherwise. But I digress…
Yes, re-tapping it in my opinion would be the most proper versus the cost. However as a lifelong friend of JB-Weld I would do it even cheaper myself. I would drain the pan thoroughly, then with a gas-soaked rag thoroughly remove the remaining oil around and behind the hole. Then dab JB or other cold-weld material on a new brass fitting I could get at any plumbing supply. The fitting could be reverse-thread and just slightly larger than the hole so it would self-tap and hold strong. Let set for at least 24 hours. My total cost on that is estimated around $12. I would guess any honest mechanic would still want around $80 to do it the previous way.
Those Honda V6 oil pans are relatively heavy duty, you’d definitely have to overtighten or crossthread them to strip them out. I would try to get them to pay for at least part of the pan if not the whole thing. I work at a quick-lube and even we’d pay for the oil pan if we’re the only ones who’ve touched it.
Aluminum or steel, it matters not. Stripped threads are due to overtightening and/or failure to use a gasket under the drain plug.
Aluminum is weaker than steel, there is no doubt about that. However, it’s perfectly acceptable as long as the threads are not abused.
If they’re going to use the argument about weak oil pans then ask them how many eons spark plugs and oil drain plugs have been screwed into shallow threads on aluminum lawn mower engines.
The pan can be repaired with a thread insert. There is no reason to replace the pan unless it’s catastrophically cracked or damaged. Thread damage is a minor fix; and they should pay for it.
Just to give some numbers to compare against:
I have a '93 Honda Civic with 147k miles. Since new, along the years, I’ve changed the engine oil exactly 33 times. Every single time I used on the drain bolt a 14mm Honda crush-washer (Honda part # 94109-14000), and I torqued the drain bolt with a torque wrench, to the 33 ft-lb, specified by Honda. I’ve never had a problem with a stripped pan, and I do not expect to have one anytime soon.
If your place where you do your oil changes does not install a new crush-washer EVERY TIME they change your oil, then you’re better off buying them yourself and requesting that they install one. They are only $0.23 at my local Honda dealer. Just as important, make sure they use a torque wrench also, on that bolt.
If these people are the only shop who has ever changed your oil, they owe you a new, genuine Honda oil pan, PERIOD.
If this had happened to me, I would take them to Small Claims Court in a heart beat.
Let us know what transpires in the end.
Best of luck.
I would also add this. Sometimes what happens is that someone overtightens a drain plug, etc. and this does not strip the threads but it does “pull” them. This means the threads are distorted upwards.
Eventually these weakened threads may simply give up after a number of drain plug in and outs. (especially with aluminum threads) This means this problem could have happened 3 years ago and half a dozen oil changes back; who knows.
If they’re the only ones changing the oil then they done did it, to mangle the language a bit.
Wow - I really appreciate all the very helpful info. I am going to print these responses out and use them as backup when I go to talk to the shop. I am glad to have some support to what was just a hunch. Thanks everyone a million for taking time out to share your thoughts and experience with me. I am grateful. I will post the results after I talk to the shop. I am going to try to get them to pay for the replacement oil pan.
Here’s what I use to repair stripped out oil pans http://www.timesert.com/html/drainplug.html It’s lot cheaper than replacing the oil pan/gasket.
I wonder what this shop would say about the shallow thread drain plugs on my antique Harleys; one being 60 years old and the other at 66.
Just imagine how many times those plugs have been in and out of the aluminum crankcases over the years, not even counting the 30 plus years I’ve owned them.
I put this concern to the shop, and was told that today’s oil pans aren’t as strong as they once were, often made of aluminum.
That answer is complete and unadulterated B.S. I don’t care how flimsy your oil pan is. If they replaced the soft aluminum crush washer and used a torque wrench as they should have, this should never have happened.
I would insist they replace the pan, at their cost, and then I would never go back.
Actually, that price for replacing an oil pan seems pretty reasonable to me (but I still don’t think you should have to pay it). You should see the prices on vehicles where they have to remove the engine to replace the pan.
If they don’t come around, and you have the time, I would have it repaired elsewhere and take them to small claims court. You’ve been wronged, my friend.
The only thing I can add to what everyone else has said (he’s responsible and his excuse is BS) is that on over 40 years of changing my own (and others) oil, I’ve never stripped a plug hole. There is no excuse for doing so.
If your Accord is anything like my daughters civics, the drain hole is very robust, lots of good hefty thread. I would have had to try or be really sloppy (or drunk) to tsrips hers out.
Tapping and helicoiling is the best repair. See the link below.
I own a 2007 Accord and this problem just arouse this weekend. After having my oil changed last week (at the same dealership I always have), I noticed oil spots. Went down there this am and explained my situation to one of the guys who knows me as a regular. He came back 15 minutes later and said they would eat the cost because he wanted to do the right thing. I reaffirmed his statement saying that they should be responsible for it since they are the ones who damaged it. We both agreed. Even though the pan is aluminum and drain plug is steel, this should never happen if you were to use a torque wrench. Stand up dealership did the correct thing…and saved me $500
This is a lot helpful tip. Thanks for the link. This is really more cheaper than replacing the oil pan or the gasket. this is a big help for me.